Vaping - Facts for Teens, by Laura Short McIntire

The word “vaping” hit big back in 2014 when it was selected as Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year. Flash forward to today and it’s a word that parents and school administrators are uttering on a regular basis and with growing concern and alarm. Why? Vaping has become wildly popular among teens. In 2017, Monitoring the Future released a study indicating that nearly one in three 12th graders reported using a vaping device in the past year. We hear from many South Bay administrators and parents that they are seeing these stats play out at home and on campus 

Source: Still Blowing Smoke

Source: Still Blowing Smoke

How can parents and schools combat this trend? For one thing, we can connect our students with the real facts about the chemicals and nicotine that are in most e-cigarettes and in JUULs, a popular stealth vape device. Edutopia reported that a recent survey by the Truth Initiative found that 63 percent of 15- to 24-year-old previous 30-day users surveyed did not know that vapor pods, which come in hundreds of kid-friendly flavors like gummy worms, cotton candy, and unicorn puke, contain highly addictive nicotine—a single pod containing 200 puffs can have just as much as a pack of Marlboros or Camels. 

South Bay Families Connected has created a vaping fact page specifically curated for youth. The page connects teens with reliable resources that provide real information about the nicotine and chemicals they risk ingesting when they choose to vape. The page also includes reasons that many South Bay youth have shared about why they say, "I'll pass," when it comes to vaping, FAQs, and an opportunity to share their own personal and fact-based reasons to avoid vaping and other tobacco products in the future. No scare tactics, just some honest facts that might combat the misinformation that they are seeing via product marketing and vape culture as it is depicted on social media.

Are you looking for more information about these devices? Visit our vaping parent education page:

Consider using this information to explore your son’s or daughter’s views on vaping and perceptions of the risks. Here are some tips and tools on how to make that conversation a success (source: Partnership for Drug Free Kids): 

1. Have conversations often. Before any talk, it helps to be able to share facts, but don’t assume that an information download to your child will translate into healthy behaviors.

2. Look for good opportunities to have a discussion. You can do this when passing a vape shop, seeing someone vaping on TV or in person or seeing one of the ads for vapes.

3. Try to listen, rather than give a lecture. Open-ended questions can be a great way to get your child’s perspective, i.e. “I understand that some kids are vaping. What are your thoughts about it?”

4. Set clear expectations. Express your understanding of the risks, but also why a person may want to vape. Share why you don’t want him/her vaping, and remember, it’s important to avoid scare tactics. Be honest.

5. Teach refusal skills. It’s likely that your teen or young adult will be introduced to vaping by a friend or older sibling. It helps to rehearse what he/she will say if that happens.

6. Have your loved one talk to other trusted adults who can reinforce your message. Sometimes, messages coming from your pediatrician, school counselor, favorite aunt or uncle, etc. can be more impactful.

Lastly, you can ask your teen to research and share his or her top five reasons to say, "I'll pass" when it comes to vaping and other tobacco products. Just  CLICK HERE to access the online form. If your teen chooses, his or her reasons will be shared on the SBFC teen blog page and on the Pass On It social media page.  Some days your kid my feel like "EVERYONE is vaping," but the truth is, most kids don't. Let's help them get their voices out there.

By, Laura Short McIntire